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SADC Lawyers’ Association Concerned about the Situation in South Africa
Lusaka, Zambia, 24 October 2016
For the past few months, the SADC Lawyers’ Association (SADCLA) has been closely observing the developments in South Africa. The hope as the Association watched these developments was that the government and people of South Africa would quickly find a platform for dialogue and address the challenges bedeviling the country. The SADCLA is concerned that such a platform continues to be elusive and the state of politics, the economy and the attendant social instability in South Africa is worrying, not only for South Africa and South Africans, but the rest of SADC and its citizens.
The SADCLA urges the Government and people of South Africa to address the crisis in the country, which is manifest at so many levels because this crisis has a major impact on the rest of the SADC region now and in the future. The Association restates the view that African Countries and especially those in the SADC region are stakeholders in the post-Apartheid dispensation in South Africa, hence this call, which is made with the hope that South Africans will listen to the voices of other Africans.
In addition, the Association calls for peace and stability, respect for the rule of law and calls on South Africans to have a National Dialogue to re-assess the gains and pitfalls of its Constitutional Democracy and to chat a way forward. This would be in the interest not only of South Africa, but also of the rest of the African Continent. It is the Association’s view that by holding onto rigid views, and refusing to sit down and dialogue, all the protagonists in the current standoff risk taking South Africa and its democratic ideals that have been built over so many years, and through the sacrifices of many of its citizens on a negative trajectory. Many of the citizens of Southern Africa view South Africa as the torch bearer in democracy, respect for the rule of law and good governance and hold the hope that South Africa will help in taking the rest of the region on a positive developmental path. However if the current crisis is not resolved quickly and effectively this hope in South Africa will die, and with it, the hopes of many of the citizens of South Africa and Southern Africa.
The SADC Lawyers’ Association is of the view that the situation is not hopeless and that with good and selfless leadership, both at government level and within the actors and structures that are calling for government action and accountability, the situation can be salvaged. We therefore reiterate the need for dialogue and for the South African Government and South African citizens to find each other and resolve the crisis.
Issued for and on behalf of the SADC Lawyers’ Association
By Mr. James Banda